Update: Social-Media Password Legislation

Several states have bills pending that would prohibit employers from requesting or requiring an employee's or applicant's social-media password. Maryland was the first state to pass such a "password-privacy" law.

Delaware's bill goes to the House of Representatives tomorrow. Readers know how troubled I am by how broad the legislation is--including it's prohibition on a supervisor sending a Facebook friend request or a LinkedIn request to connect to any other employee in the same company, and its prohibition against an employer's ability to investigate potential wrongdoing by an employee.

Last week, the Illinois Senate approved its own version. Several Illinois employment lawyers seem to have concerns about their State's new law similar to the concerns I have about Delaware's. For example, Jeff Nowak, who writes the blog, FMLA Insights, expressed his concerns about the potential implications of the Illinois law. And the title of a post by Philip Gordon, on Littler's Workplace Privacy Counsel blog, captures it perfectly:

Illinois' New Social Media Password Law Raises Substantial and Unjustified Obstacles to Employers' Legitimate Business Activities.

Ohio is the latest state to hop on the bandwagon, reports Jon Hyman on the Ohio Employer's Law Blog. Not surprisingly, Jon has identified some problems with the proposed law, many of which are similar to those I've identified with the Delaware law. Porter Wright's Brian Hall expressed similar concerns about the Ohio legislation.on his firm's blog, Employer Law Report.

And we all agree that these laws are just not necessary--employers are not engaging in this practice. But legislators just cannot seem to help themselves. The question is, will this political brouhaha end in a nightmare for employers?

Read more Labor and Employment Law insights from Margaret (Molly) DiBianca in the Delaware Employment Law Blog.  

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